How important is it to have a theme for the worship time? For example, worshiping God as our Rock (stability) or Jesus as our coming King.
Some churches are very insistent about having a theme. They feel that everything in the service should help lead people along a single path. The music, the prayers, the sermon—everything—are all geared toward a specific theme. recognize that lots of churches do it this way.
Right off the bat here, let me say that I am not opposed to this concept. For me, however, it’s not always my preference. Let me explain.
Personally, I approach the idea of having a theme differently if the main part of the worship is going to be before the sermon than I do if the main worship time will be after the sermon. I view these two time slots very differently.
If the main time of praise and worship will be prior to the sermon, my objective is simply to get people to focus on the Lord. In doing so they become open to what He wants to do in their hearts and lives. It is sometimes likened to preparing the ground before the seed is sown. The worship ministry team plows the soil of the hearts so that the sower, the preacher, can plant the seed.
So, if I am leading a time of worship before the sermon, I would generally use songs that extol the greatness and kindness of God. Again, my primary focus is to get the people to look to Him. I am far less interested in “preaching” (through my song selection or sharing between songs) the pastor’s message before he does. If the congregation honestly focuses on the Lord, they will be more ready to receive what He wants to impart to them during the sermon.
However, if the main praise and worship segment will be after the sermon, I tend to be much more theme-oriented. Once the sermon has been given, it can be very beneficial to reinforce that message with thematic songs. This can help drive home the point in a powerful way. People generally leave our services remembering more of the songs that we sing than specific points from the sermon. I am not suggesting this is good, only that it is reality.
So, if I am going to lead worship after a sermon about God’s love, for example, then I might be apt to choose songs that give thanks to the Lord for that love. A message concerning the second-coming of Jesus could be reinforced with songs about our expectant anticipation of His coming. In this way we can strengthen the point of the sermon and make it more memorable for the people.
Please understand in me sharing all this, I am not trying to get you to radically change what you’re currently doing. I am simply wanting to give you a different perspective to ponder.